The Hobby : a flash mystery

Mary Wilson stared through the peep hole in her front door at the clean cut young man standing on her porch. Against her better judgment, she opened the door. “May I help you?”

“Ma’am, I’m sorry to disturb you.  I’m selling magazine subscriptions to pay my way through community college.  Would you be interested in supporting me?”.  The young man smiled, his short dull brown hair waving in the wind.

Mary smiled. “Of course, come in.  Would you like a glass of ice tea?  You must be parched.”

“Yes, thank you.” He wiped his shoes on the welcome mat and entered the humble bungalow.  His eyes scanned the living room as Mary guided him to the kitchen table.

“Sit here.”  Mary pointed at a kitchen chair, the paint worn down from years of careful use.  “Would you like an apple?”  She took the butcher knife from the block and made quick work of quartering and slicing a ripe red delicious apple.  She poured a glass of ice tea and sat the apple before the young man.

He drank greedily, his thirst obvious.  He wiped the back of his hand across his moist lips.  “Ma’am, do you know which magazine you would like?”  He pushed the catalog across the table.  “The order form is on the last page.”

“Do you have the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine?”  Mary gazed over the young man’s shoulder through the kitchen window into the backyard and smiled.

“Um, no.”

“What about something with true crime?”, she asked, her eyes brightening.  Mary fingered the edge of the butcher knife as her smile started to slip.

“No, but we have People Magazine, Women’s World, and National Enquirer.  Would you like one of those?” His voice fluttered with a quiver as he kept his eyes locked on Mary’s face.

Mary gripped the knife.  “No, I would not.  I. Have. One. Hobby.”  She accentuated each word with a sinister pause.  “What did you say your name was?”

“I didn’t, say my name, that is.”  He wiggled in his chair, his youthful swagger evaporating.  “I’d better be going.”  He snatched the catalog from the table, nearly tripping over the cat as he ran to the front door.

Mary fingered the blade and sighed. Oh well, it was for the best.  She cleared the dirty glass from the table, placing it in the sink. As she gazed out the window at her collection of brightly painted wooden crosses, each with a single name painted in black.

She only had one hobby.


  1. Jeannie Sonnier says:

    Oh.h.h.h you are so bad! I just know this sweet little lady doesn’t have a hobby killing salesmen – - -although who could blame her??

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